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2011 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books Education. (2011) Eric Alterman; Garrett Graff; Katrina Vanden Heuvel ('Obama Two Years In.')

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Us 12, Libya 9, Obama 9, America 8, Washington 8, United States 7, Afghanistan 7, Paul Ryan 5, Garrett 5, Kosovo 4, Mms 4, Wisconsin 3, Israel 3, Egypt 3, Katrina 3, Clinton 2, Chicago 2, Fbi 2, Glenn Beck 2, Rick Warren 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    2011 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books  Education.   
   (2011) Eric Alterman; Garrett Graff; Katrina Vanden Heuvel...  

    July 17, 2011
    3:00 - 4:00pm EDT  

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.. >> so, let me get started i'm going to start by doing something -- can you all hear
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me? i'm going to start by reading something that garrett to my left wrote a few years ago. and actually no idea what -- >> it's nothing terribly embarrassing but it's to remind us all of what we're all thinking when president obama was elected. then i will begin to introduce my fellow palace and ask questions. back in 2006 care it wrote the following. a few short years ago he wrote no had heard of the skinny chicago state senator and constitutional law professor with the biggest and the funny name. now all bets are off. advisors, colleagues and friends obama just might be willing to be the next president of the trendy pick to be the capstone of an amazing rush for politician whose charisma and personal story, born, harvard educated, has breathed life into the democratic party. at the heart of obama mania, his
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personality and presence. our preacher, our professor, part movie star. is charisma seems effortless. his charm an afterthought. and he quotes a guy watching obama's and who is that guy? he's shortly got a. the third african-american since reconstruction to serve in the senate. he delivered the keynote address at the 2004 national convention. he won a grammy. pose for, and then he said he needs to look no farther than his desk in the senate chamber to be reminded of the last politician who embodied the hopes of a generation. the inside is signed by its previous occupants including bobby kennedy. so with that, here we are today. conservatives as we all know as late as last week, conservatives are still question whether the present was born. what's more shocking is the degree to which progressives who
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are to some degree i think over represented on this panel are disappointed because obama hadn't -- [laughter] hasn't turned out to be exactly the president they expected. the issues are numerous. obama has failed to one degree or another. i'm sorry? [inaudible] >> the president, despite coming into office, he has failed to undo the bush national security state. he has failed to close guantánamo. he has taken up the issue of deficits in favor of the issue of jobs. we know many of the criticisms but i'm hoping today will be doubled have a series discussion about whether progressives are justified in their
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disappointment, and obama. how much of this is obama's fall. how much is the fault of republicans. how much is the fault of the filibuster. if obama is right when he says let us not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. and with that why do i turn it over to garrett. garrett is the end of the washingtonian magazine. his first book was called "the first campaign: globalization, the web, and the race for the white house." which examine the role of technology in the 2008 campaign. his second book is just coming out called "the threat matrix: the fbi at war in the age of global terror." that was out last month. so why don't you open it for us? [applause] >> well, as befitting my seat on the stage i think as i started off in politics working on howard dean's presidential campaign and i think i represent the far right wing of the panel today. [laughter]
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>> i think that the first two years of obama, in a lot of ways gives truth to the old political saying that one campaigns and politics and governance in prose. and that what, the lesson i think that obama has learned in many hard ways over the last two years is that governing is a lot harder than talking about governing. and that as much as we like to think that closing guantánamo would be an easy thing to do, it turns out that for all sorts of reasons, only some of which are related to the republican party, it's not. and that's a subject i spent a lot of time on the last two years as i have been researching this book on the fbi. i have followed a lot more of obama's national security plans
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and strategies. and evolutions that i have some of the other issues which i think katrina and eric will talk more about. but that the world is an immensely complicated place and we have seen obama repeatedly buffeted by global events outside of his control. coming and, of course, when you did with the financial crisis, up until the last couple of weeks the unrest in the arab world and the earthquake in japan, that one of the challenges that i think has also become clear is how little of the presidency is up to a president. and that much of what happens are in a presidency term is about reacting to it and it rather than message integrating the events of it, as we might have wanted him to. what i think, and then i will
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pass it on down the road here, what concerns me more than sort of where obama is, or where the republican party is, is i think we are entering an era in politics where the thing that concerns me the most is that we are no longer serious about solving big problems. and that was sort of the subject of my first book in 2007 looking ahead to the 2008 presidential race. and the big issues in education, and health care, and energy, the environment and jobs, and so on, and i think that you can really see that playing out in washington right now as we have this debate about the budget. and that this budget debate in some ways has become about paul ryan and his plan and his thinking of the budget. but that the idea that we as a
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nation can all agree that there is one guy in washington talking seriously about the budget is an indictment of everyone else in congress who is not, that we're sort of at this point where you want to talk about the budget? there's one guy is taking this really seriously. he's the one who's thinking about how to solve the budget problem. these are huge issues. generational issues that are going to have to be solved one way or another. and the fact that there's not a larger debate that involves more people on both sides of the aisle i think is a stunning indictment of where we are in a political process. >> thank you, garrett. i think the debate in this country, we are having -- >> maybe i should take a second and introduce you. >> don't waste your time. [laughter] >> i'm editor of publisher of the nation, i'm sorry.
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>> the lady needs no introduction. [laughter] >> i'm just eager to jump into the substance. i don't have a book. i does have a magazine that i edit. i do think there fundamental debates in this country but the disconnect between the debates inside washington now and what is going on in the country are radically disconnected as we've seen in decades. that's some of the problem. of what obama has to address, has not addressed. let me step back for a minute if i could. i met president obama once but twice thing he's dead to me is to remind me -- [inaudible] [inaudible] it's a lesson not -- it would not be much less. with that said, i want to just, make the case that president obama in his first two years did
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pass, they were landmark pieces of legislation. the health care legislation and the financial reform legislation. but they were not commensurate with the scale and the scope of the problems this country faces. i would argue a failure of leadership but also the systemic structural problem that have made our system dysfunctional or not serving people. because, this is what eric's book is so much about, the power of money in his system, the power of lobbyists. the power of those forces to dilute legislation, and a republican party that admitted openly its main task was to delegitimize, destroy president obama. and health care bill in my memory, tell me if i'm wrong, was the first major piece of legislation in the last 40 or 50 years passed without a single republican vote. and that said, that's important. i also think that the stimulus,
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the recovered was diluted because of republican pressure, and also the many democrats. and then the failure as garrett was talking about, the failure to message that this was a recovery program, allowed too much of a medium -- media that doesn't serve the people to conflate that so that it led to the emergence of a right wing populist movement, and it angered, justified anger that the recovery was not sufficient again for the skill of the economic crisis. and as we see today as we sit here, president obama because of the dilute piece of financial reform legislation resuscitated but did not restructure the financial -- the financial sector so that the banks are more powerful than ever. hyper leveraged. units are the people. they remain masters of the universe.
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and that i think is very dangerous. and the corporate money in our system, unprecedented amount post citizens united will continue to allow the power to dominate our society. i think one of the central mistakes president obama made was demobilizing those who supported him. and it's not just progressive. it's not just the left. it was a fairly broad-based coalition of young people, african-american, single women. obama camps, conservatives with a conscience. because to have and this is a future a pragmatic president, you want that wind at your back that people park in which is the only thing that is probably sufficient to counter those forces of money, establishment power, and that has been the history of our country truly transformational change when you have the ability of movements from below to push and pressure president. whether it is abraham lincoln as our editorial board member whose
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prize-winning editorial winner rights abuses in his book, those abolitionists of his come of that time who helped found the nation pushed president lincoln beyond the limits of his own politics. but that is not what we're seeing now because the demobilization base. too small, not small but team of rivals. remember president obama spoke about the team of rivals, but he didn't bring in a team of rivals. you did not have a statement on that point. even the president clinton, clinton's administration, didn't have as much power and he had found a great voice he has now. there was another voice in there fighting to ensure that the voices of people and those which majority polls show us in the country believe the real crisis in this country is not a deficit crisis but a jobs crisis. that hasn't been well represented inside the corridors, halls of power.
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afghanistan, you know, if we listen to present obama during the campaign, and i was one who said that progressives need to be as tough and pragmatic as president obama as he is about us, he spoke about afghanistan as the good work. and he did that because he needed to show because of the national security state grip on our politics, and to we find a way to end of that, the president remains captive to the to a large extent, he had to show he was tough. i think now what is going on in this country is you have the ability, polls are polls, but an issue is afghanistan, corporate power is never. you have trans-partisan majority people want to find a way out of afghanistan who believe corporate power is too strong in this country. and a president with leadership who could seize that. not too late. and find way to build a politics around that. thinking of president johnson, wars kill. reforms presents.
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when ever anyone things of all the flaws of president obama, he is a reform, may be deluded, too limited, but in these areas he is a reformed presidents i think it's imperative now for citizens
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>> in terms of my work right now. one is just what katrina mission, personal. she had been over for dinner five years ago when he had just become a senator. and i've never been so impressed with a politician in my life. i was so moved ideas black leadership, i hoped one day my daughter who just turned 13 might be able to vote for this man for president. and it just seems to me, i didn't know him at a time that his middle name was hussein. it seems to me america but that guy is president three years later. i had a lot of trouble imagining anyone, even today, after all my disappointment who could be president of the united states who is as smart and as committed to the kinds of guys and worldview that i hold. i'm sure we have some fundamental disagreements. but still, that was 2005. bush had just gotten reelected somehow.
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when you think about it it's incredible. so i like the guy a lot. i'm sure a lot of you which is crying when grant park that night, so that's part one. part two is this morning actually i was writing the obama chapter of the book i've been working on for eight years. which is a history of postwar american liberalism which will be out next year. called the cause. and the fact is, liberal is a lot more marginal than we like to think it is. but those of us, katrina and i like to think it is. franklin roosevelt came to power in an extra in a situation. lyndon johnson came to power in an extra in a situation. it's not that easy to find liberal moments between the two times where the country agreed on the goals and is willing to move forward. and make progress in the way that we would define progress. it's a much tougher haul than
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most people who hold these guys, as i do, understand. so in that respect the fact, it's significant that teddy roosevelt proposed national health insurance in 1912. and every democratic president since harry truman has tried to pass it. and barack obama somehow passed it. there's a lot of weaknesses to a. but it not nothing. his presidency, the first two years of this president with the most consequential democratic presidency in 50 years. it's not chopped liver. i don't like chopped liver. [laughter] >> so, that is point number two. that point lead to the argument that i made in my book, "kabuki democracy" which i'll be signing after this now. which is about the system. and the system is what i call the system which has a lot of
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components. part of it is filibustered and the hold and part of it is a legacy of the most corrupt, incompetent and ideologically obsessed president of the past 150 years minimum. we need, what this world needs is a good comparison between -- to decide if he is the worst president ever. but there was so much to be done if you just look at the way committee just look at the way we were setup to handle the oil spill and the mms. nor ever heard of the mms. galleries they were ever in the newspapers before the oil spill was because people were dealing crystal meth out of the offices of the mms. in exchange for sex. there's not a single newspaper in america that had a reporter dedicated to covering the mms. and then when something happens which you need to before, the government is not there. you saw it in between. you saw in the revelation of the financial industry.
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you saw it by the way in baghdad when we invade a country, we had no plan and millions of people were displaced hundreds of thousands were killed. billions of dollars were wasted. because the government, because the people who ran the government had no respect for government. and eight years of that leaves a lot of legacy was united a chance the obama administration has to focus on. being a progressive president almost impossible to do our power of money, which is more powerful today than it was two years ago and it was plenty powerful two years ago. i quote dick durbin saying of the banks, frankly they own the place to talking about the senate. and, of course, the power of conservative media to distort and making possible a sensible discussion of our problem. so we have a very difficult issue like the health care bill or cap-and-trade legislation, you end up discussing whether you want t to kill your own grandma. is that a good idea.
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or with a government come your house and make risky if you put your thermostat over 72. i know you people don't have that problem here. we have it in new york. site a great deal of sympathy toward the guy trying to talk sense to american people to treat us like adults and to make it difficult trade-offs in the context is no respect for that kind of thing in our society, where he has to go after being asked about by george stephanopoulos on good morning america, he has to go and show his birth certificate because it could and jury of republicans don't believe he was born in this country. it's difficult to govern in that context, on the one hand. on the other hand, another project i've been working on of late is a series of columns i've written an issue which i might expand into a short book on what i call the conservative class were. for the past four years a group of wealthy conservatives are
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joined by religious conservatives and now joined by lots of people with other kinds of grievances that have fallen into the movement, although not as many as the media would have us believe. have launched an attack on the role that the government plays for the poor and the middle class. so, first they create their own me institutions and intellectual institutions to replace what has been the previous establishment. then they went after the tax code. so now the wealthiest 1% of the country have more than doubled the amount of wealth relative to anybody else. so they went from owning a% of her assets to 20% of our assets. in the past 30 years the top 1% has enjoyed 20% of the gains in this economy. 10% has enjoyed 60% of our society. if you read paul pearson, this is all purpose. there have been global
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development that have effects on this kind of thing but the rest of the world is just not the case. it's only america where we have this degree of inequality. it's been purposeful. the next phase of the concern class or is what you see in wisconsin, which is the attack on public unions as the last voice to stand up for working people. with the corporations having power in our election system from the only people who can conceivably oppose them are the public unions. that's why they're going after the public unions. obama refuses to recognize that fact. he has all of us why don't we get along stuff wrecks why can't we be friends? and the fact is we can. if one side is fighting a war and the other side has got their hands tied behind the back. that site is going to do really well. we see that in the notion in washington that the only person talking about sensible governance with regard to the budget is mr. paul ryan. mr. ryan is not talk about sensible government.
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he is talking about what the conservative media pretend is a central government. the fact is that if you take his own numbers, and i'm using this as an example. if you take his own numbers he does nothing about the deficit for 10 years. the deficit stays on the same course it's on. but it does do two things. it destroys medicare and it gives a tax break to the wealthy. it increased the tax break to the wealthy that they already have. and it destroys medicare, one of the key components of the social welfare that makes this country a liberal country. i'm not an economist. but a friend of mine named paul has a nobel prize in economics. he says that the only series, uses the same phrase, the only series attack on the long-term entitlement budget deficit is
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the progressive budget. is that what it's called? >> people's budget. he's got a nobel prize and he says the only series one is the people's budget. so i will take his word for it. think about it, the fact that in washington you have this notion that only paul ryan is serious. what this paul ryan do? he destroys medicare in order to get more money for the wealthy who have had the best 40 years in history of this country. that's what obama doesn't want to recognize that obama's budget is absolutely worst than the simpson-bowles budget which takes $3 out of spending for every 1 dollar it raises in revenue. that's the democratic, $3 out of spinning for every 1 dollar in revenue. obama's is worse than that. the conservative or has greater notion that tv series he has to attack poor people and in which rich people. that to me is the problem. [applause]
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>> i was a message wasn't officially endorsing paul ryan's budget in my earlier comments. [laughter] >> but you did say that. are you trying to get this guy lynched? >> this is exotic would have been last him until the person who sort of didn't get tremendous applause on the panel in los angeles. [laughter] >> give him an applause. [applause] [laughter] >> what i meant more on paul ryan is that we sort of use brian or whatever your issue as shorthand for starting the debate. because there is i think particularly in washington a sense that there's not series thinking about these big issues, that we are so focused on a
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day-to-day politics, the sort of cable news winning the day, winning the battle, winning the short term, that these big problems are coming down the pike and we're not talking about them and we're not working on them. so when one person does begin to do that, as paul ryan is with the budget, we sort of end up defaulting to letting him own that debate. this sort of an interesting divide i think in the way that we're talking about that you have a republican congressman and the president and the president of the united states or a debating this back and forth with almost no one else in the picture. >> the people's budget is a very serious budget put forth by the members of the progressive caucus, 83 strong, and what was striking about it is that the nation made it its lead, they did a column about it but it's not just fox news. and eric always writes about
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this. dan in the "washington post" wrote one of the snarkiness columns i've ever seen in many years in which she said, there -- the people's budget can be unhelpful association with the people's republic of china and other socialist undertakings. now, when you do that you have immediately marginalize the possibility of millions of people taking what is a serious budget about a robust social safety net, about taxes for the rich, unnatural transaction tax, and cutting the cuts in defense budget, all popular majority positions. yet marginalized. and then ryan becomes the prince because his views accord. but they worked well inside washington. with the republican elite. but taken out on the road, it you are seeing not just progresses but you are seeing
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people say what? you know, you can take away my medicare and my children? one problem an overarching all this is the role of government. was striking and i was just looking at this year the day, there was a 2010 survey done by cornell political scientist. 40% of those surveyed did not know medicare was a government program. [laughter] it's an interesting, it's so embedded in people's lived experiences which explains the tea party, you know, keep tea party, keep the government, hands off my medicare. [laughter] >> any change the subject. i want to ask about libya. on the one hand it's kind of unbelievable to me this present of all presidents in the aftermath of the bush administration has managed to embroil us in a new war before completing the two wars that we
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are currently involved in. on the other hand, he is saying this is a different kind of war. this is a war that is being waged in the name of multilateralism, in the name of humanitarianism, in the name of protecting citizens. i'm curious what the thread you think about that. is this a war we should support? is it a war at all? >> i think that libya is fascinating because from my standpoint i think it's the most dangerous war the united states has ever been involved in. because what you're beginning to see in libya is, thanks to technology, the ability of the united states to go to war without putting any american lives at risk. that we can, launch tomahawk missiles, we can send in predator drones. it involves no boots on the ground, and that that -- when you look at what keeps a nation from going to war, it is the
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sense that you have to put blood and treasure on the line in a war, that you have to send americans into harm's way. and if we are now able to go to war without putting any blood in the process, not that i think we should be sending americans to be killed in libya. i'm not endorsing that either. but that in my mind what's dangerous about libya is the advances in technology have made it possible for us now to go to war without risking anything. >> how is that different from kosovo? not a single american died in kosovo spoke not a single american died in kosovo but we had troops actively engaged. >> no, we didn't. it was entirely an air war. >> but we are not even using airplanes in libya right now. >> but they don't have
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antiaircraft guns. in other words, we went to war, nobody died. how is it any different? >> what's different is we did have to commit -- there was a chance that, you know, we were going to lose american lives. we could have lost pilot. and we didn't the groups -- troops on the ground as part of a peace keeping in kosovo. what worries me about libya is there is no reason for us not to go to war is all we're putting on the ground is treasure. >> katrina, go ahead. i don't have a feel on that. >> there's the issue of drones, very dangerous policy. i mean, president obama has used drones, i think 192 times. he has escalated it, bush did not use drones. but the larger framework is that we are seeing the expanding of the national security state.
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little marginal attempt to cut the defense budget. we shouldn't be dismissed because it's an open to look at that hard. but the expansion of the u.s., i don't love the word, but the empire, the basis grew. you now have effort. nader is an american instrument. nato should have been abolished after the end of the cold war. but instead went and brought not just in libya which i think is very dangerous on a number of grounds because it violated the u.n. security resolution on most be neatly. i and for the human. i think the resolution was an important one but if they've used it has the potential to also diminish and got an already attacked and threatened institution, the u.n. it also changes the narrative in these extraordinary events in the arab world where you have a sense of people making their own history and now the west is back and there, france, u.k., the united states. the overarching thing in my mind which president obama may not have had the courage to do for a
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variety of reasons, there's always a fear of another attack and what that means politically in this country, another 9/11. to make the case that we must in this war on terror. this is not a war. what happened after 9/11 should have been a response of policing, intelligence, the other, not putting ground troops in country. even secretary of defense gates now on his way out as you may recall i think at west point said a few weeks ago that any advisor who advised a president to put troops like afghanistan and iraq should have his head examined. >> this is kind of a sacrilegious thing to say. but i don't know everything. [laughter] >> so i don't really know if libya is going to turn out to be a good idea or a bad idea. i do know that we should've gone to congress and got congressional resolution. that i am sure about. but the thing is, you know, i'm
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told that if we had done this than it would've been a horrible massacre by an evil man of a lot of nice people. who here thinks it was a good idea to stay out of rwanda? it's not that simple juices and i'm against war. war is for a reason. it's not a good response. this would have been a massacre. there would've been a a massacre of honest people that we could prevent it isn't that what power is for? i'm not saying that means it will turn out to be the right decision over time. i don't know that a good plan. but i do know that they are not evil people. i do know that power is someone i respect and admire and understand a lot of the dangers here. and i feel the same way about barack obama. i would've made different decisions about afghanistan. i would've gone with joe biden spend which is more like katrina is described but i don't know everything. they know things i don't know. the fact is that the choice is not between war and peace.
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the choice is between war and massacre in many cases. i'm hopeful that this will turn out to prevent a massacre and prevent war at the same time. it may not but none of us know that. it's anti-intellectual and it's kind, there's a moral, to act as if you know that one evil is better than any other viewpoint because it's impossible to know that. plotnick. >> more applause. >> let me ask one final question and then we'll open it up to the audience. i'm just curious looking forward to 2012, you know, with this possibility that a takeover of all three branches of government theoretically by the republica republicans, can democrats afford to squabble? is this a time to be closing the ranks and supporting the president, or how much fighting can progressives have? over the next couple of years.
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[laughter] >> i mean i think, i wouldn't use the word fighting. i think what you do is you were to drop issues into the political debate such as it is. i mean, on afghanistan, you know, good congressman, jim mcgovern from massachusetts, good congressman, walter jones will be traveling a primary state to raise the issue of afghanistan. i think you do it to give space to issues, not to tackle president obama but to put this, you've got to pick this up. you've got, we are trying to change what we believe is a policy that is undermining your possibility as a reform president. i think we work hard to elect more progressive people in the congress. i'm not for a primary. i think it is a destructive possibility in 2012.
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you build towards 2016. you were to elect as many progressives into this congress and in state legislators. i think so much of the action right now in order to prevent the assault and to stop some of the class war, conservative class for your talk about is at the state level. a lot of attention needs to be paid. i think president obama has been given a gift with paul binds budget and i think he's been giving a gift with a republican field that is more and more looking like that scene in star wars at the bar. [laughter] >> they're releasing the blu-ray of all the episodes another democratic -- to release star wars right before the election. >> i would echo what katrina was saying with the added you to the point that i think obama has a relatively easy reelection bid ahead of him. between the powers of the presidency as an incumbent,
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between an enormous sum of money that he is going to have. he is going to have i think most observers agree a billion dollars war chest. and the amount of tv and staff and volunteer organization that that buys is pretty massive. in addition to i think the simple fact that democrats ask -- demographics on the side over the next generation, that young people continue to vote heavily for democrats and that the minority population in the united states, which is disproportionately democratic, is growing and expanding. and that at least in the short term, if those people vote, it becomes a very easy election for obama. the question i think is, is
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those people -- >> i think that's a bigger problem that a lot of people -- i'm not so sure obama is going to get reelected. that unemployment is not going down anymore. the bed is not in the mindset to steam late the economy any further. he hasn't been all that concerned about jobs in the first place. the problem of japan and supply lines has not shown up yet but it will. it will stall a portion of -- housing prices are collapsing again. now that those programs are gone. it really depends on whether or not -- it depends on two things. can the republicans nominate someone who strikes the rest of the country as the same? [laughter] i'm saying that seriously. and it's not clear that they can. even the people who used the same are acting crazy for the
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purpose of getting the nomination. i don't mean newt gingrich. he was always crazy. but some of those like tim pawlenty, if you go watch back when he was on jon stewart the first time i ever saw him, he struck me a as a nice fella. and purposely reasonable guy. and now he is saying a lot of crazy stuff. the question is, whether they'll to come back from the? what seems to be hav happening s they seem to be setting up mitch daniels to be the guy. he will strike everybody as sane. he will be a very tough opponent. and as far as the demographics, well, i think minorities and young people are going to be the hardest people to turn out after the disappointment of, between 2008 and 2012. i think a lot of people, george bush was so horrible, and again
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the idea of electing an african-american named barack hussein obama was so amazing that i think we can all forgive ourselves whatever illusions we had up through election day. i forgive myself. but the fact is, is that he, the greatest criticism i would make of obama is, because again, i wrote a whole book called the system versus barack obama. we had to fight to change the system. just a quick aside because the court my book which alleges from a book, from one of obama's advisers in chicago when he was, what was he, a city councilman? what was he? a state senator, yeah. was running for his first state senate office and this other guy who makes and breaks state senator says you know, some come here to learn when you can't get the whole hog, you need to take a ham sandwich. and obama's taking every ham
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sandwich he can get. the problem is there's like no ham and know him say what you it's not even this horrible kosher ham i grew up eating. kosher bacon. don't have inflicted on your children forget about kosher bacon. [laughter] so the thing is we need to get more ham in those sandwiches. we need to fight to get more ham in the sandwiches. young people and minorities have not gotten much ham in a sandwich at all they've gotten a big sandwich of nothing. and so, there won't be there in the same numbers at all. the second thing, i have this theory, the night obama won the election in 2008 was the night he appeared with rick warren. rick warren put his arms around the guy and said i don't agree with everything this guy says but he's all right. and so the numbers come if you look at the number 2008 what really changed was that the republicans stayed home much
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more than democrats turned out. that's because they didn't think he was the antichrist. now they think he's the antichrist again. they are going to turn out. so their side will turn out and it's not clear that obama's base will turn out. it's going to be a much, much tougher election which is why all the more crazy that people like ralph nader and alexander cockburn are so agitating, for somebody to challenge him, either as an independent or within the democratic party. that's how incumbents lose big it is because they are challenged from within. that's the jimmy carter was challenged by ted kennedy. lyndon johnson was challenged in be. the easiest way to lose an incumbent president is to have to fight to battles at once. as much as i come even if i find america's ago with obama, if i thought he was terrible i still wouldn't be against challenging him. i would be building for 2016. >> with that one why don't we opened up to questions from the audience. you can ask about the presidency. you can ask about eric's dietary restrictions.
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[laughter] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] >> i can do that. i can be part of it. israel and american jews i want my big issues like pay a lot of attention to it. obama blue in the middle east. there's a very long question. how would one possess obama's dealings with netanyahu and what
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can we expect from hamas agreement, is that basically it? and egypt. i don't know about egypt. he blew it with regard to the middle east because he started out as he's done altogether too often for many of our case, he started out bold. he made a little resistance and then he ran around. he ran away and you didn't see him again. he gave a great speech in egypt come in cairo. the symbolism was great. the speech itself was great. he spoke a new day. he had the beginnings of a new movement inside an american jewelry that is going to give them the space to take a much tougher position against the government that most american jews oppose, which is not at all, because if it were a peace agreement the government would fall. is antithetical to its interest and then he got some pushback from the organized jewish
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community in the united states and from the netanyahu government and he let them win. he walked away. it's not going to be a cakewalk. i will try to do something else. and netanyahu government has shown that they don't have to make any concession. they can push them around. the republican congress will be on their site. 90% of the american organized american jewish committee will be on his site even though it into maggiore of americans are not. it's a similar problem too many problems we have with our own democracy and the power of money in an outdated mindset. and so i think what happened, if i can transition your to the hamas, is that the palestinian authority decided this is just not happen. the only way for this to happen is if the tranny is willing to exhibit real pressure on the israeli government, in force difficult concessions, and step up to the plate.
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they are not going to do that. netanyahu said he denounced disagreement and he said that hamas has to choose between peace with israel and peace with hamas. and the fact is that if you chose peace with israel for the past three years you got nothing. you got nothing. you got more settlement. and you got -- by the way, the whole situation was made far worse by the bush administration's attempt many put the first palestinian election, and then overthrow that government. there was a to inside that was directed by the tranny. in any case what you see is between hamas and fatah is the rejection of the american will and the possibility of a peace agreement anytime soon. it may turn out that's a good thing. because making peace with just have a palestinian is not repeat
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that the other half of the possibility of undermine that peace if they were not included. if you want real peace and is nothing israel needs more than the piece, you need to make it with a real palestinian government that includes fatah and hamas. but if i could happen anytime soon. so it's going to be a matter of sort of crisis management between now and then. and crisis mission is very difficult when you have an organized jewish established in this country demanding that you be 110% israeli. so in the long run we'll all be dead but in the medium-term this might turn out to be a good thing but it's going to be very painful to get from here to there. >> there is a guy with the microphone over here. how about that person back there? >> thank you all for coming. on wednesday when we woke up we heard the announcement about the
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long form or through ticket. and it was a collective cry of outrage across america in the black community. when president obama presented his birth certificate. and i was wondering why would he do it? because i guarantee you that no black person in america would have wanted him to present at birth certificate. however, i believe, and i would like to hear your opinion, that it was not because of the donald trump, or the glenn beck or any of the crazies on the right that he presented at birth certificate, but it was actually because of the liberal left progressives, you know, who would come to me and say why won't he just release his birth certificate? and it would take me 235 years to explain why he should not
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have speeded we don't have to hundred 35 years. >> exactly. and my point is this. as someone mentioned, minority and young people are so profoundly disappointed in the last two years, but it's not just with obama. i believe it's also with the progressives, because there were progressives who are saying that. and he can't get progressives to stand up, then he's in trouble. thank you. [applause] >> does anyone want to address that? >> just to be fair there are crazy black people, too. alan keyes is not accepting forgery. east bloc. so let's not be racist about that. there's crazy black people and crazy white people. >> i think his audience for the birth certificate was neither left nor the right, but the moderates. i think that it was a way for
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him to use the presidential lectern, quite literally in the white house, to raise the issue of the unserious debate in american politics, that this is, the fact that we are even still talking about this two years later shows all of the other things that we are not talking about that actually matter. >> i don't know many progressives who demand a president obama showed their certificate but i take apart, there's an anger in your question about progressive criticism of president obama, but, you know, president obama has lashed out at progressives who is criticizing but it seems to me there's a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between those outside who support his presidency but want to push him beyond the limits of what some believe are constricted politics.
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there's a support in that as opposed to those on the right who want to delegitimize and destroy his presidency. i sent which we for example, something critical of president obama's policy, there's often a wave of anger from a range of people. but, you know, let's be -- look at the policies eric spoke about, the job crisis. you know, the rates of unemployment among african-americans, among latinos have soared. and i think that in the support for president obama there's a right kind of cultural identity support, but in terms of the raw objective facts, it seems to me people should be agitating for a jobs policy in this country that will bring in all, it is a crisis, and the new normal should not be eight, 9%. [applause] >> there is a woman's weight in the back. on the left.
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>> thank you for being here. what i'm concerned about is that you look around this room and you see people that are mostly over 30 i'd say, and -- [laughter] that's generous, generous. and i'm a high school teacher and i know my students, when the last election they didn't even know who was running. they didn't even know during the primary and they didn't care. and i'm wondering am i look at the media and i see it so limited, and to get actual information as there. i mean, all of us kind of the politico advocate junkies, but the rest of the country isn't here and what they hear is sensationalism and they hear all about the celebrities. but they don't know anything
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about politics. and so, how is it that we're going to get them involved in politics and didn't have access to the issues? >> you know, there's two things that are happening in the media simultaneously right now. wind is i don't have to say this to this town is the shrinkage of genuine actual news coverage. there's maybe 40% as many editors and just as there were five years ago and they have to do twice as much. you've got to tweak and you got to blog and you've got to do video chats and you've got to walk peoples pets and stuff. and there's no time to actually find stuff out and report on it. that's one crisis. the second crisis is, what a bomb was i think talking about was this carnival barking stuff, that is combined with a right wing bias. it's tabloid mentality that is
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combined with look, they don't want to hear this. they are going to leave me. [laughter] the kids are not all right. [laughter] on the right, which you saw in the birth certificate issued and whether or not he is a muslim and all these other, possibly even the antichrist, and what's happened is that because the right is so financially successful, fox news is very profitable, it seeps into the mainstream media. the mainstream media doesn't -- the report is obama muslim? let's talk about it. what are the two sides? is obama trying to turn this country into an islamist republic? i did read a story that said that what inspired obama to show his birth certificate was being asked about it by george stephanopoulos on good morning america the day before, or two days before. and the fact is that the media are not only losing people but
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losing confidence and they're unable to decide what it is they think their job is anymore. so they look to this carnival barking guy, to glenn beck and bill o'reilly and rush limbaugh, these people seem to know what they're doing. they have a lot of confidence but they don't care what is true. they don't care at all. fox news shows when they want to attack -- [applause] you don't need to apply. fox news reports on the wisconsin protest, they can't find any violence so they show a california protest where they had violence. there's palm trains in wisconsin in the wintertime on fox news. that's one example. i could give you hundreds. so we need, what we need is our meeting with the self-confidence to report what they know to be true. that global warming, there's a consensus on the part of the established that global warming are man-made. that obama was born in the united states. that there are

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